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tv   Hardball With Chris Matthews  MSNBC  August 10, 2012 2:00am-3:00am EDT

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>> the smartest strategic thinker in republican elected office today is paul ryan. you look at what he has mastered in the budget. you look at whether you like or dislike the details, this is a guy who has thought deeply about the reshaping of the american government to make it affordable. at a level that's really pretty courageous. and he's done it in a blue-collar district with a large u.a.w. membership, a lot of auto plants and he's gotten re-elected by big margins going home and telling people who he is and what he honestly believes. >> across the board he'd be the brain you'd want in that room to -- >> let me be clear. rob portman is very, very smart. marco rubio was a great speaker of the house in florida. i've known marco for years. he has a tremendous future in my judgment. governor mcdonnell's a great governor of virginia, and virginia's going to be -- could well be the deciding -- virginia could be for this election what ohio was in 2004. >> i think you're right. >> so you look at a number of these places.
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the thing about the republican party today is compared to when i was young and you were young, there's a lot deeper bench than there was 20 years ago. >> but it's also to the right of where it was. and i want to ask you about ryan, who it was your first impulse to go to him. do you have a sense, he does demonstrate courage. he did have a plan. nobody else seems to have a plan. he did, however, go very tough on medicare, which you know is a live wire for seniors and other people. >> sure. >> do you think he can translate his guts as a committee chair to his necessary judgment as a candidate for vp? >> well, first of all, ryan came back, learned a lot from his first effort, produced a bill with ron widen, democrat of oregon. so you now have a bipartisan bill to save medicare that ron widen speaks well of and introduced in the senate. so i think -- >> i know what you're thinking. about something most people don't think about. that seems to be where bill crist ol's pushing him or a lot of these guys are out there pushing him. there's influence on your side. let me think about the old
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things you think about. some boring adviser comes about p. you need geographic balance. romney gets utah in a way. >> and michigan. >> that's true. right. he has roots everywhere. he also has a house in santa barbara. what about the religion thing? you're a converted catholic. and i salute you for making these deep decisions in life. this thing, though, being an r.c., paul ryan, and an lds, is that still a question in the bible belt, in the deep south? a catholic and mormon on the ticket? >> not if barack obama's the alternative. it's easy. >> they'd just go against obama? >> people say how is romney going to motivate the conservative movement? they're going to wake up every morning, remember who's president and be totally motivated. the desire amongst every conservative in this country to beat barack obama transcends any concern about mitt romney. >> what about picking someone good for my business? a christie. no, i'm being selfish here. there's not a guy or woman in this business i talk to that doesn't wish like hell he'd --
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or like heaven he would pick christie because he's so quotable. he's so big. not just physically. he's just so big a personality. he would really shake this election up. >> as a guy who always had a weight problem i've always hoped christie could become a national figure so i could stand in his shad shadow. >> you'd look like popeye next to him. >> i know. christie's had a great run as governor. again, he said he's very dubious about making the transition from a first term as governor. but on the other hand, woodrow wilson went all the way to the presidency from one term as governor. >> he's from virginia. let me ask you about this. why is it people who run against romney, maybe this is just politics, they don't like him afterwards. you've said some tough things. people like huckabee seems like such a pleasant guy. he really despises him. he says he has no soul. you see this everywhere. rudy giuliani didn't like him. really got nasty. what is it? his wealth? his looks? is there something that really bugs people about his rivalry?
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>> first of all, i think mitt and i get along fine. we get a lot of stuff done together. i don't particularly dislike him as a person. >> i like that particularly. >> this is a tough business. you know that. >> but what is there something about him that -- >> he's a very tough competitor. and he takes no prisoners. >> the negative advertising he did against you and rick santorum wasn't to your face in debates. it was that dresden style bombing in the primaries by his super pacs. that had to get to you. because he wasn't doing it man to man. he was just paying for it. >> i the best way to think about our fight was i threw the kitchen sink at him. he had a bigger kitchen. he threw the whole kitchen at me. i think part of what happens in those settings is romney's a very intense, directed guy. i mean, he has been thinking about this since his dad was governor and his mother ran for the senate. he ran in '94 -- >> why does he want to be president? because his dad didn't make it? >> no, i think he wants to be
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president because he thinks the country's in deep trouble. >> but just kind of contradicted yourself. you said he's been running since his dad was around. and now you're saying it's because the country's in trouble. >> i'm saying he understands the business. he's been in the business. he's very tough. but he and i had several conversations because we're both grandparents. and we both have the same feeling that the re-election of barack obama is a terrible thing to put on our grandchildren. >> you have the problem i have, joe biden had. i've not in your league of course, politically what you've done. but i tend to think and say what i'm thinking. you do it all the time. joe biden does it and christie does it. mitt romney is not that guy. he's in a hardware store in wolfboro the other day. the press says what did you bay? i bought hardware stuff. he comes out of the grocery store, what did you buy? he says groceries. he seems to have this instinctive cloaking around himself. can you run for president and win the presidency with that cloaking around you? >> sure. say the words dwight david eisenhower. >> yeah. but he received the nazi surrender. that helps. this guy hasn't done something
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like this. why doesn't he just get the taxes out, show the returns, five or ten years, take the hit, move on? >> because i think he believes two things will happen. the first is folks in your business will spend three weeks lovingly going over every single detail. >> what's in there that he's hiding? what are these details he's afraid of? >> it's not even things that are being hidden. it's just something will show up and that will become a story and this will be -- >> but this is a story. if it's just little details. you must believe that it's worse than it looks. because why wouldn't he put it out? >> i think the second reason is you do this and what's the next demand? >> well, you did ask for him to dot returns. >> i did. >> so now you're changing. you want to be in the loop with this guy. two new polls out today with dramatic results. i want you to assess these. take a look at these. in the latest cnn national poll obama leads romney by 7. last month obama led in that same poll three points. among independent voters the lead is even stronger. 11 points obama. brand new fox poll came out has obama up by nine. last month they had him up by
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four. there is a trend in the tactics. his tactics are tougher. do you think that'll change the results? >> i think that the romney people, when you see them start with the welfare ad, the romney people are going to have to come back and match obama. obama spent a lot of money in about seven weeks trying to cripple romney before they got to the general election. >> it works sometimes. >> and they spent a ton of money doing it. they're going to limp into the general election with a lot less resources than romney has. >> they'll raise a lot more money if they're eight points ahead. >> but the romney people are going to have to come back. and i frankly find both those polls -- i like to look at those polls -- >> they keep changing. but these are the same polls moving up. >> they just don't strike me as plausible given what's happened in the country at large. i don't think you get 8.3% unemployment and have obama -- >> okay. what they're finding is that people believe romney's very rich and he's looking out for his own crowd. he has an interest in his upper class people economically and
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that's whoa wants to root for and set policy for, not the middle class. that's hurting him. these ads are sticking about bain. >> i thi what you had is a relentless assault by obama, who spent an enormous amount of money this summer on what's a big gamble. i think what you're going to find is as they get deeper into the campaign and romney counterattacks which he will and as this welfare thing is the first big step in that direction, i think this will be an even race by labor day or shortly thereafter. and i think that the burden's going to be on obama. >> the big story, mr. speaker, is andrea saul the other day basically reminding everybody that mitt romney had a health care plan up in massachusetts and this guy was in that ad who was so tough on him that said my wife died because of him. he would have been better off if he had romney care. then all of a sudden people like laura ingramm are jumping on her and ann coulter saying she should be fired. but isn't she saying what romney was saying throughout his career, i'm proud of what i did in massachusetts, it worked? >> he's also said that was the right thing for one state. that doesn't mean -- >> but his chief spokesperson
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said the other day that would have been the right thing for the guy living in indiana as well. so it's not just massachusetts. the guy's living in indiana and she says he'd be better off if he had the plan from massachusetts helping him there. she said that. >> well, i suspect she picked a fight she regrets. >> let me ask you about bill clinton. because you tussled with him. but you got charmed by him until they put on the wrong end of the plane that time. but here's this guy. is he really out for obama? has he decided in his calculation that if obama gets re-elected it creates a better environment for his wife to be elected president '16 because the next four years are economically going to be better no matter who the president is? that's what i believe it is. we're on an upswing in the cycle. it's going to come back because of inventories and other things. housing's going to get sold. we're going to get better off. so who gets to be president and have a good time for the next four years? if romney gets in, you won't get him out in four years. that's my theory. if you're hillary. >> i think it's very hard.
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first of all, i don't think most politicians are quite that calculating. >> bill clinton? >> from the standpoint -- i think bill clinton knows you can't get 2016. >> so what's your instinct? to go for the win? >> well, i think he has -- i think he's trapped into going for the win. first of all, his wife works for the guy. i mean, it's pretty hard for him -- >> but he can trim him. he's not trimming him. i don't see the trim there. >> no. and i think the fact he agreed to give the nominating speech. i wrote my newsletter this week and made the case in human events that i think it's a very big risk for obama to have clinton -- >> the big dog. >> -- give the nominating speech. because it reminds you how weak the obama record is. compared to clinton. >> they can outspeak each other. i remember gerry ford being on the same platform with ronald reagan too. that was a mistake. but i think clinton's going to play ball. i think he's decided this president's got to get re-elected for his wife to have a shot. and he wants her to run. i don't think she's decided. he has. mr. speaker, thank you for coming on "hardball." you're always welcome here because you have an alive mind. coming up, the way the right
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wing pounced on the romney campaign for touting romney's massachusetts health care plan. you get the sense they really don't trust this guy and actually never have can romney win back by making paul ryan his running mate? the conservative elite continue to push for those. you just heard one of them. even though his plans to replace medicare may not sit well with seniors. and mitt romney famously said he likes firing people but what about his campaign staffers who keep blowing it on the trail? one touts his now embarrassing health care plan. another says the campaign's like an etch-a-sketch. still another told reporters the kiss is you know what. what does it take to get fired from the romney campaign? finally let me finish with the campaigns that refuse to inspire us with a future we want. this is "hardball," the place for politics. [ male announcer ] it seems like every company
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has a facebook page these days. but where's the relationship status? well, esurance is now in a relationship...with allstate. and it looks pretty serious. esurance. click or call. the presidential battle ground map is shrinking as we speak. expanded the playing field into places like pennsylvania for example. for a look now where the campaign is being fought, here are the top five cities with the
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most tv advertising in this presidential race. as of this week. at number 5 it's richmond, virginia. number 4, des moines, iowa. number 3, it's back to the old dominion, roanoke, virginia. two there. number 2 is cincinnati, ohio. and the hottest tv ad market in the presidential race this week, colorado springs. we'll be right back. those surprising little things she does still make you take notice. there are a million reasons why. but your erectile dysfunction that could be a question of blood flow. cialis for daily use helps you be ready anytime the moment's right. you can be more confident in your ability to be ready. and the same cialis is the only daily ed tablet approved to treat ed and symptoms of bph, like needing to go frequently or urgently. tell your doctor about all your medical conditions and medications, and ask if your heart is healthy enough for sexual activity. do not take cialis if you take nitrates for chest pain, as this may cause an unsafe drop in blood pressure. do not drink alcohol in excess with cialis. side effects may include headache, upset stomach, delayed backache or muscle ache. to avoid long-term injury, seek immediate medical help for an erection lasting more than four hours.
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welcome back to "hardball." if you're mitt romney and you want to make the right go apoplectic just have your spokesperson say this. >> to that point, if people had been in massachusetts under governor romney's health care plan, they would have had health care. there are a lot of people losing their jobs and losing their health care in president obama's economy. >> well, that was andrea saul just yesterday on fox news responding to the new obama super pac ad narrated by a man so who blames romney for his wife's death after bain capital closed the steel plant he worked
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in. right-wingers including rush limbaugh were furious. conservative blogger erick erickson of red state wrote "the romney campaign decided to sabotage itself with a mind-numbing bit of spin that may work the -- mark the day the romney campaign died." and ann coulter blew up last night on fox news. let's watch her. >> anyone who donates to mitt romney, and i mean the big donors, ought to call mitt romney and say if andrea saul isn't fired and off the campaign tomorrow they are not giving another dime. because it is not worth fighting for this man if this is the kind of spokesman he has. to respond to an ad like this by citing health care in massachusetts? there is no point in us going to massachusetts and pushing for this man if he's employing morons like this. >> morons? isn't the deeper problem they never trusted him in the first place? john, there's an old rule in politics you that know who your enemies are because when you make a mistake they jump on you.
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the fact that ann coulter and laura iningraham and others were poised to jump on this guy it tells me something about their instincts. why did they jump so ferociously? why didn't they just help them out? >> well, erick erickson does not like mitt romney. he can't stand him. he has not been able to stand him for a long time. and the fact of the matter is he's been after mitt romney since the beginning of the campaign. and i'll say this about andrea saul. i think she's a good spokesperson. i think she's a good person. and i like her a lot. and i think at the end of the day this is a small blip in a long campaign. >> laura ingraham by the way joined ann coulter in bark andrea saul today on her radio show. let's listen to laura. >> there is no room for these types of errors. no room at all. the other side will get a pass right up until election day for falsehoods and for screw-ups.
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that's what the obama people have always gotten. they always get a free pass. but guess what? the rules are different for republican candidates. you're not going to get a pass. and andrea saul just gave the obama campaign a big, fat, wet kiss. >> here's what washington examiner columnist phillip kline wrote today. countering what ann coulter said, that romney needs to fire andrea saul. he said the problem isn't a personnel issue. "the bottom line is that romney was a moderate to liberal governor of massachusetts. should romney lose, conservatives shouldn't blame his staff. all his problems are attributable to his inherent weaknesses as a candidate." well, let me go to joan on this who's a liberal -- i mean a progressive. joan, this is weird. the spokesperson to me spoke what the candidate has been in the past, someone who's proud of their health care plan which did become a model for obama's care nationwide. now, he says he wants it done state by state. but on the fundamental question of the individual mandate, which
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is we all should have insurance and help pay for it to the extent of our ability to do so, is the fundamental agreement between romney and obama. and the spokesperson in that case admitted it and in fact bragged about it. >> well, she's stuck, chris. because romney himself doesn't really know what he thinks about his own plan. he's gone from touting it. he's gone from saying in 2009 that it should be the model for the country, the model for obama care. it turns out it kind of was a model for obama care. but then he doesn't like it. then you know, just yesterday he said we're going to repeal and replace obama care. and since i've got a little experience with health care, you know i'll be good at doing that. but what does that mean? what would he do? he has a crazy reluctance. i've said it before. it's like he's in the mittness protection program. he was never massachusetts governor. he didn't do any of that stuff. so he can't embrace it. but he can't entirely run away from it. so it's not a problem of his staff. eric fehrnstrom did the same thing. he spoke the truth about whether
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you call it a penalty or a tax you have to pay something if you refuse to get health insurance. that's a republican principle. they don't like freeloaders and free riders. they should be proud of that. that became the national law. they should be proud of that. but instead they don't like it anymore because a democrat did it. they really have a problem. >> well, fortunately, joan and john, we have tape to prove what you just said, that romney for a long time was fairly happy with what he'd done out there. he completely ran away from his achievements. but before he did, what he did up in massachusetts, before he stopped talking about it, he was actually proud of it. he even said it should be the model for the nation. take a listen. >> right. >> how do you insure the 45 or 50 million americans who are not on the books? >> well, that's what we did in massachusetts. and that is we put together an exchange, and the president's copying that idea. i'm glad to hear that. >> we have a model that worked. one state in america, my state, was able to put in place a plan that got everybody health insurance. therefore, the right way to proceed is to reform health care. that we can do as we did in
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massachusetts, as riden bennett is proposing doing it at the national level. >> we need health care reform. and you know, we took that on in massachusetts. we decided we wanted to get everybody insured. we've done is that. i understand that the president considers his plan in some respects following the model of massachusetts. let's learn from our experience. >> you know, this makes no son's, john feeheri, because fdr before he was elected president did the new deal in new york and when he got elected president he carried out the deal nationwide. it's fair to assume someone will done what they've done before nationwide. they may encourage it to be done state by state, but they want the individual mandate as a principle. is romney for or against the concept of an individual mandate? us taking responsibility as joan said for our own health care to the extent we can? is he for it or against it? >> let me say this. barack obama was against the individual mandate when he campaigned. >> i know. he changed his mind. >> he completely changed his mind. >> well, hillary clinton encouraged him i think. >> he compromised.
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>> what mitt romney believes is that this happens best at the state level. and he had this massachusetts mitt romney care if you want to call it that. and it worked in massachusetts. but it does not necessarily work across the country. what happens in mississippi is different than what happens in massachusetts. what happens in mississippi is different than what happens in california. and the problem with the obama care is it's a nationwide program and the big federal bureaucracy, and it's a real problem. and i think you can be consistent and say i was for romney care but i was against obama care. >> that's pretty weak. let me tell you why. tell me any state governor who has an income tax and tell me they're against the national income tax but they like the state income tax. if you're for the principle of taxing income. if you're for the principle of people paying their own share of health care costs. they can't freeload at the e.r. if you're for that in principle that's a deeper fact than which level of government handles it. by the way, romney's spokesman as of the other day said that guy living in indiana would be better off if he's living in massachusetts but he should benefit from the same kind of health care and he wasn't
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getting it because he left the state lines. this is hard to argue what romney's up to. and that's why the right wing of your party is giving him hell for it. joan walsh, john feehery, thanks for a good effort by john. not tonight. it ain't your night. next the truth about those voter i.d. laws courtesy of jon stewart. this is "hardball," the place for politics. [ dramatic soundtrack plays ]
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whether it's showing competitors' rates or striving to be number one, we're always up for a little competition. zap! [ sparking ] now, that's progressive.
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♪ back to "hardball" and the sideshow. we've been talking a lot about those new republican-backed voter photo i.d. laws and how they could tilt the election to the republican side. the big question is where's the evidence to support the need for these new photo i.d. laws? well, last night jon stewart had something to say about it. >> even pennsylvania, which is now defending its photo i.d. law in court, said this. >> the state admits that it is "not aware of any incidents of in-person voter fraud in
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pennsylvania." in addition the state says it has no evidence to prove that "in-person voter fraud is likely to occur in december 2012 in the absence of the photo i.d. law." >> i rest my case. >> if it ain't broke, don't fix it. finally, last month will ferrell and zach galifianakis joined me on "hardball" to talk about their new movie "the campaign," which opens in theaters tonight. i saw it before and i loved it. however, i know two brothers who aren't going to like this movie, the koch brothers, who bear remarkable resemblance to the movie's bad guys, the moch brothers played by dan aykroyd and john lithgow. earlier this week zach galifinakis took a personal shot at the koch brothers. quote, i think it is pretty often that the motch brothers represent the koch brothers. i disagree with everything they do. they're creepy and there's no way around that. it's not freedom what they're doing. anyway, the koch brothers apparently didn't appreciate being called creepy. their spokesman took a stab back at zach. "it's laughable to take political guidance or moral instruction from a guy who makes obscene gestures with a monkey
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on a bus in bangkok. we disagree with his uninformed characterization of koch and our beliefs." well, i'm with zach against the flakz working for the koch brothers. up next the drumbeat on the right to make paul ryan mitt romney's running mate is getting louder and louder. can romney appease their concerns by putting the golden boy on the ticket with him? you're watching "hardball," the place for politics.
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hello, everyone. i'm lynn berry, and here's what's happening. the cdc warns a new strain of swine flu is spreading faster than first reported. 158 cases this week, all tied to contact with pigs. so far symptoms appear to be mild. the sikh temple where six worshippers were shot and killed has reopened its doors. attorney general eric holder will speak at friday morning's
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memorial service. and a new report says airlines are more punctual and less likely to lose your luggage at any time since the government started keeping records. some good news there. now we'll send you back to "hardball." what am i supposed to do? you won't answer my calls. you changed your number. i'm not going to be ignored, dan. >> i'm not going to be ignored. what guy can forget that movie? welcome back to "hardball." that scene from "fatal attraction" should carry a message for mitt romney about his party. they will not be ignored. and the conservative establishment has made sure romney knows that they want paul ryan to be his vp. today two heavyweights joined in the "wall street journal." there they are. the "wall street journal" editorial page asked why not paul ryan? and politico today, rich lauer, the editor of national review, another conservative organ,
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counsels romney don't fear ryan. but should romney fear the right? robert costa writes for the national review a great magazine. a and. welcome back. i want to start with you then you. jump in here. you guys are on the right. i'm not. is this a move to show they got the muscle or is this a move to help them get the nomination means something by winning with it in november? >> little bit of both. for a long time there's been a rising discontent on the right that romney's running a campaign that's a referendum on the economy. a push for paul ryan is making a choice on fiscal issues. facing this country. they're saying romney you've got to play more aggressive, ryan's that play. >> instead of waiting for the bad numbers to get worse which romney seems to be doing. i'm not talking about -- avoid mistakes, let the numbers do their talking, and then you win. they're saying show your ideology. >> well, i think that's right. and i think karl rove also had a piece in the "wall street journal" today that said by romney being even, means he's ahead. >> but we've got two new polls today that splatter that across the wall. >> just hang on a second. >> no, i'm not going to wait a second. it's my show and your two
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numbers 8 and 9. >> hang on a second. my point is this. >> rove is wrong. >> no, you think rove is absolutely right. >> he says the polls are even. >> if i'm mitt romney right now -- >> but the polls are even. your premise is wrong. >> my premise is right. if you look at the battle ground states if you look how close the two of them are compared to where they were a few months ago. the fact barack obama spent over $100 million to bring him down, he's essentially even. my point is i'm going to try to make here to you is a very simple one. the ryan folks, the guys pushing paul ryan say romney's got to shore himself up on the right, they don't trust him, they don't believe he's their guy. i don't buy that. i think you could pick a guy like rob portman that the conservatives would like and still get all the bounce you need of getting a credible candidate who could take over on day one -- >> then why are they making all this noise? >> they're making the noise. let me finish the point. they're making the noise because they want romney to hear them. they want romney to say we are the republican right-wing establishment, we want to make sure -- >> to what effect? >> to the effect they want to try to get a more conservative candidate. >> right. but you talk about this noise. i don't think this is just noise, chris. i talk to people --
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>> i don't mean it negatively. it's a roar. >> it's a roar. but i think romney recognizes, this guy was ruthless. you talked to gingrich earlier in the show about how romney plays hardball in the primary. i think romney wants to win this bad. he knows he needs tone jooiz the right in the general election. if you pick a pick that's just kind of vanla, that's flat -- >> let me try the politics. they mistrust the guy in many quarters. does he want to share it? because if he wins this thing by picking a portman. portman's his guy. if he buckles to this pressure and picks a guy further to his right like ryan, he sort of shares the ticket with this guy. >> no, he's not. >> no. >> ryan's house budget committee chairman close with boehner, close with mcconnell. ryan shares the same portman persona of a governing pick. how do you explain -- >> but will he have one because he picked ryan rather than picking his own guy. >> romney likes ryan. >> then why isn't he picking him without all this heat? >> well, look -- >> answer him the question. you think he's headed toward ryan without the heat? >> i think he's headed toward ryan without the heat. just follow the tea leaves. before ryan endorsed in the
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primary romney's been calling ryan, asking advice about his fiscal platform. remember -- romney already came out and embraced the ryan budget. he already gave it an endorsement of sorts. so romney's thinking to himself if this election's going to be about fiscal issues and the ryan budget why not just put him on the ticket and make the argument? >> this isn't fair but i'm going to do it. who's going to be his running mate? >> rob portman. >> i think paul ryan. i think the buzz is real. >> the buzz is real meaning? >> the buzz is real. i think people in boston think ryan's sharp. they want someone who's going tone jooiz the right. it's not just a push from the right. it's partly that. but i think romney recognizes he needs to make a decision here that's more than just portman or pawlenty who are -- >> i think the guy has got -- he steps on land mines. going after medicare is always tricky because older people as we all know vote regularly and they're there and they're very sensitive because once you reach 7 5 or so health is everything and somebody's paying for it, medicare and you don't want that messed with. >> but he's been making the argument on medicare all year.
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that's the big problem -- >> here's my problem. romney runs an opaque campaign. he goes to a hardware store, people say what are you buying? he says i bought some hardware stuff. he tends to be opaque. he hopes the numbers will win for him. >> i think that's right. >> but if he goes with this guy ryan's going to talk. he's going to say what a fiscally conservative person believes and how it's going to different than obama. does romney want that kind of campaign? >> i think he does. >> a very clear campaign? >> a very clear campaign. i think he's going to have to carve a very clear contrast between the president's record, what the president's said and what the president's done. you get that with a portman. you get it with a ryan. i just think all this chatter on the right that we need paul ryan is -- >> let's forget ideology for a second. the knock on portman, i don't know the guy, he doesn't come on this program, but i know pawlenty. he seems like a regular guy, a nice guy. but portman everybody says is boring. romney's not exciting. is there a danger in two white bread, excuse the expression, candidates who are just like -- you're not going to kid yourself to sit next to them on an airplane.
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>> portman brings a lot if he romney wants a governing pick. there's a lot from the palin example four years ago. >> there's a middle ground here between palin and portman. give me a break. >> i'll say this about portman. i saw him in colorado yesterday. know his reputation as a guy who doesn't excite. he can enthuse the conservatives on the trail. he's not as bad as people say he is on the trail. >> how about a 30-yard pass? not a hail mary but how about a 30-yard pass? >> the guy who -- >> ryan's a -- >> for the guy who's known rob portman for 20 years, he's my closest political mentor. >> tell me about him. where is this thing that we're missing? >> thing you're missing he's not this bland, boring guy. he's a very charming guy. he's a very -- >> why would you put him on the excitement level? if you were him. >> i'm not going to go there. but look -- >> how would you compare yourself? >> he is very exciting. he's very intelligent. people like spending time with him. >> he's hiding under a bushel basket. >> just wait, chris. >> i want to see the gag reel on this guy. >> thank you, ryan. you are really good. you're giving us a lot of stuff here. listen to the right. robert costa. for some reasons anyway. thank you, ryan christie.
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up next, mitt romney says he likes being able to fire people. so why hasn't he fired any of the people on his campaign who keep getting him in trouble? i'm not going to advocate. i used to be a staffer. but we'll ask yes does it. he says he likes to fire people. this is "hardball," the place for politics. tend a flood could never happen to them. and that their homeowners insurance protects them. [ thunder crashes ] it doesn't. stop pretending. only flood insurance covers floods. ♪ visit floodsmart.gov/pretend to learn your risk.
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i want to say a word about my friend marvin hamlisch who died the other day. from the first time i met this guy, it was 20 years ago. he was the musical director for a barbra streisand concert tour. he struck me as the most humble, most generous guy you could possibly imagine.
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in fact, you couldn't imagine a guy like him being so humble. yet his life was sheer accomplishment, writing songs for his show "a chorus line," like "one," that great song and "what i did for love." and 40 movies. including with the the way we were" and so many others. he once told me that someone like him practices piano four hours a day so that every year or so he can do something he couldn't do before. i've never known someone who so deserved to be famous and never once act like it. never once. ♪ one ♪ singular sensation ♪ every little step she takes ♪ one
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i like being able to fire people who provide services to me. if someone doesn't give me the good service i need, i want to say, you know, that i'm going to go get somebody else to provide that service to me. >> welcome back to "hardball." mitt romney left no doubt if someone's not you have to snuff, not up to the job, whether it be an insurance provider, an aide perhaps, he likes to be able to fire people. that said, what does it take to get fired from the romney campaign? apparently a lot. back in march describing the post-primary pivot his boss intended to make aide eric fernstrom basically confirmed suspicions on the right that romney would tack to the center with this now famous line. >> i think you hit a reset button for the fall campaign. everything changes. it's almost like an etch-a-sketch. you can kind of shake it up and we start all over again. >> fehrnstrom remains one of romney's top advisers. who could forget warsaw where
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romney traveling press secretary rick gorka lost his cool with reporters and delivered this priceless line? >> governor romney, do you feel your gaffes have overshadowed your foreign trip? >> this is a holy site. show some respect. show some respect. >> we won't have another chance to -- >> [ bleep ]. this is a holy site for the polish people. show some respect. >> that's the line of the year. kiss my. this is a holy site. gorka was given time off. that might be a low key way to ease him out, but he's back. and now campaign press secretary andrea saul, she set off a near revolt on the right when she the other day defended romney against an ad that insinuates he killed a woman by playing up his role in massachusetts health care reform. >> to that point, you know, if people had been in massachusetts under governor romney's health care plan, they would have had health care. there are a lot of people losing their jobs and losing their health care in president obama's economy.
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>> so what does a person have to do to get fired by mitt romney in real life when it comes to politics? ron reagan is an author and msnbc political analyst. and erin mcpike is covering the campaign for real clear politics. i want to start with erin. we were talking beforehand. you know all these people, all these press people that work for this guy. he either likes them, knows what they're up to, doesn't mind them being hit. i mean, he's got a thick skin for this stuff. >> he loves his campaign staff. and his campaign staff loves him. he will never fire any one of them. >> but he fired that gay guy that was spokesman for the foreign policy team. he dumped him in a new york minute. >> before he got to know him. he had just come on the campaign. but listen, he's known eric fehrnstrom since 2002, since he was running for governor. eric fehrnstrom is his favorite person inside the campaign. when mitt romney -- >> what about service? he says in that wonderful quote if i don't get the service i need i dump this person. well, he's not getting the service he needs from some of these people. when they say kiss my -- this is
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a holy site. it makes them look like a fool. although the press should have looked worse he ended up looking worse. and this whole thing yesterday saying hey that plan is great. we should have it in indiana is what that woman was saying. andrea saul. that's not helpful to obama. i mean, it's helpful to obama. >> some of these comments weren't great but they weren't that big of a deal. and conservatives, people on the right have made a much bigger deal -- >> okay. what's that tell you? laura ingraham, ann koulter, all these people jumping on -- rush limbaugh. are these people just exploiting an opportunity because they don't really like romney? >> they've never liked romney. >> that's what i wanted to know. >> ron reagan, nobody likes to fire people but this idea that i like to fire people like that's tough horse sense,s tough business, i've got to do it, and then these guys are getting away with everything. he likes a loose team or he likes a tight ship. which is is it? >> the problem with fehrnstrom and saul's case is he'd have to
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be firing them for telling the truth. that may be worse than firing them for not telling the truth. i mean, andrea saul in particular this is a woman doing the best to defend her boss and doing a pretty good job of it pointing out that these people if who lost their jobs sxirns if they'd only lived in massachusetts under romney care they would have been okay, they would have been covered maybe her life would have been safshd. that's a perfectly legitimate defense. but it cuts right to the heart of the problem with the romney campaign, which is this is a man who cannot tout his proudest public achievement, he cannot do it because it will upset the mouth-breathing base. so there he is. he's stuck. >> but what do you call the base? the what? the -- what did you call them? >> the mouth-breathing base. >> i thought you meant the knuckle-dragging base. >> well, same thing. >> let me ask you this. we're going into conventions where every single little tweet and every sound is going to make a lot of noise. we're going into the general election where everything's said during the debates and right after the debates, everything's going to matter big-time. is he going to shake things up
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or he's going to wiz team? >> let's go back -- >> because you like these people. you don't want them fired. but is he going to start saying wait a minute, that wasn't me. that person missed my point. >> i think one of the biggest problems with the romney campaign is they are not able to convey to the public what is likable about mitt romney, but the staff loves him. i'll tell you one thing about this, these campaign staffers are some of the highest-paid campaign staffers that have ever worked in the history of campaigns. >> maybe that's why they like him. >> but they like their rapport with him. eric fehrnstrom was the first person outside of mitt romney's family that mitt romney told he was conceding after super tuesday in 2008. he's close with these people. he travels with andrea saul all the time. he really likes her too. he takes care of her almost as a father figure because they travel together so much. these people love mitt romney and mitt romney loves them and he won't fire any of them. >> we're in a dry hole here because we're looking for managerial ability, at the same
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time we're finding mr. kindness. papa bear. >> the real problem, again, for the romney campaign is not that he's loyal to his people or his people are letting him down, the real problem with the romney campaign again is it's dishonest. just as the republican party today is dishonest. they're not telling people what they really stand for. want to save medicare? no, they don't. they want to privatize it. they always have. they hate it. they want to privatize social security. but they can't say that until they get into power. it's the same thing with romney. that's what's behind all of this. >> why is obama socialist, they say? because he did national health care. where did he get the idea from? the individual mandate. from romney. >> exactly. >> he's a state-level socialist. he's for those who live in massachusetts are socialists and then if you move oust state his spokesman says, heck, i should have stayed in massachusetts because that's where they have health care. by the way, what's distinctive about massachusetts, not other state would benefit from it. is it so different? i've never understood why it's only good in massachusetts.
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by the way, fdr had the new deal in new york state. and then he took it to the country when he was elected. that's what people normally do. last word from erin. >> conservatives generally don't like the romney campaign's explanation of what he did in massachusetts on health care. they don't want him talking about it at all. that's why this comment was a problem. >> why didn't he tell her not to do that? >> which voters don't like that, though? which voters don't like that? >> i think he's speaking with forked tongue. he wants the moderates to hear the moderate and then the conservatives to hear the other stuff. but his spokespeople aren't that good. thank you, ron reagan, as always, sir. and thank you, erin mcpike, for joining us from clear politics, real clear politics. when he with return, the campaigns that refuse into spire us with a future we want. i'm talking about both campaigns out there. not a lot of inspiration out the there. this is the place for politics.
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let me finish tonight with this. i don't know anybody who's impressed with this campaign so far, and i'm talking about both candidates. romney seems like a guy trying desperately not to make another mistake, hoping the economic numbers will win it for him. if they get just a little bit worse and he can avoid blowing it. after all these years of running for just a few months more. now, can you think of anything less inspiring than that? a guy just trying not to crash, hoping that the economy will do it for him. obama, to be fair, hasn't been all that inspiring either. i know times are tough and he can't just play defense, and i know that means hitting his rival in the shins. but like you i remember that wonderful poster from 2008 with that picture of him looking
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upward and that single word, "hope." hope is what this campaign has lacked. romney is basically calling a return to normalcy, all this restore our future stuff, that's what his party promised back in the early 1920s before giving us thanks to harding and coolidge the roaring '20s followed by the great depression. romney's now in search of his coolidge. he already has his theme which is precisely what harding ran on, a government attuned to the wants and needs of business, a government that knew its place when it came to corporate power, which is basically to stay out of the way and let those big boys make money. and that's what you hear his supporters and donors want. and that's what you can be sure romney stands ready to give them. as for obama, who i still believe has the brains and conscience to lead, seems to have settled on a single goal this summer, tear down his rival. incumbents don't look good when they do that, they look good to good when te ask the voters for a second endorsement. when they ask for a second term to do what they couldn't get
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done in one. i'm waiting for that moment when obama or romney offers something better than what we got before. something they wanted. america has been on the promise of something better, the candidate that creates a picture of something bold and true is going to get the brass ring, and the one who plays it safe, and here's where i'm letting my heart speak, will not. i didn't get interested in politics at the age of 5 to watch two guys avoid being leaders. let's hope the conventions shake this thing up. let's hope we start hearing about the sharp difference in direction these two candidates are going to take this country because the evidence suggests it's going to be huge. that's "hardball" for now. thanks for being with us. "the ed show" with ed schultz starts right now. show" begins right now. good evening, americans, and welcome to "the ed show" from new york. 89 days until the 2012 election. the obama super pac commercial that everybody is talking about has mitt romney whining. republicans are on defense and ann coulter is calling for the head of romney's spokesperson? gosh, it's getting interesting. all that and harry reid is starting to reveal more information about his source. i'm loving it. hope you are too.
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this is "the ed show," let's get to work. the past when people pointed out that something was inaccurate, why, campaigns pulled the ad, they were embarrassed. >> the debate over the joe soptic ad hits fever pitch. mitt romney is crying foul in a stunning display of hypocrisy. >> today they just blast ahead. >> journalist michael kinsley says the ad is fair game and he joins us tonight. newt gingrich admits romney's welfare commercial is full of holes. >> we have no proof today. >> democratic strategist chris kofinis agrees and he's here to set him straight tonight. >> corporations are people, my friend. >> romney thinks corporations are people, but when it comes to releasing his tax returns, mitt says he's not a business. the big panel weighs in on the romney reverse. and the romney camp is out with yet another lie. >> president obama used his health care plan to declare war on religion.
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plus, the nuns on a bus challenge mitt to spend a day on tour. sister simone campbell tells us why mitt romney needs to be educated on america's poor. good to have you with us tonight, folks, thanks for watching. mitt romney finally responded to a pro-obama super pac ad. after getting hammered by members of his own party. the ad features former steelworker joe soptic. it tells joe's story after he was laid off from a plant closed by bain capital. romney went on right-wing radio today and called the ad inaccurate. >> you know, in the past when people pointed out that something was inaccurate, why, campaigns either pulled the ad, they were embarrassed. today they just blast ahead. >> really? mitt romney wants campaigns to pull inaccurate ads? someone should ask mitt romney why he didn't pull this campaign ad. president obama is quoting john mccain, but the romney camp edits it to make it sound like the president is talking about himself. >> it's going to take a new direction.

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